Buffalo, New York – September 20, 2022 – We commend the Federal Aviation Administration for denying Republic Airways’ petition for exemption from the enhanced First Officer Qualification requirements that came about as a result of the landmark 2010 Aviation Safety Act. These requirements have been the cornerstone of a package of regional airline safety reforms that have led to over thirteen years without a fatal crash on a U.S. commercial carrier, by far and away the safest period in the skies that our country has experienced.
The captain on Flight 3407 was hired for his first regional airlines job with only 600 hours, and proceeded to be advanced through the system despite multiple failed check rides. Ultimately this lack of airworthiness and foundational flying skills manifested itself on that February night in 2009, costing our family members and friends their lives in a very avoidable crash. Consequently, we are strongly opposed to any attempts to water down these entry-level hiring standards to allow regionals to rush young pilots into a cockpit with someone’s loved ones in the back of the plane.
We will continue to lean on the expertise of experienced professionals like Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles, and are committed to remaining vigilant and vocal to rebuff any future attempts to weaken these requirements.